It was three years ago. I remember feeling some of this follow-up pressure. What a delight it was to receive such a warm reception for this sequel. Thank you. I hope we have one more good experience together like this. Below is what I wrote on that day. –Sam 9.13.19
I have been asked a certain question hundreds of times. I’ve been asked it in person, in interviews, in emails, in blog and Facebook comments, and in letters from kids.
“When is The Green Ember sequel coming out?”
This question has served as both an inspiration to me and a force of pressure on me.
I spent nearly a decade in a long “rough draft” of The Green Ember, telling my kids aloud the earliest versions of what I would later write down for the novel. How was I supposed to follow it up at all, let alone quickly? On top of that, The Green Ember—this book I thought was likely only suited for an audience the exact size of my family—turned out to be kind of a hit with many others. We’ve reprinted more times than I can remember, seen many tens of thousands of copies sold, met with big studio executives about a possible movie, and spent days as the best-selling audiobook in the world. All in about 20 months. Holy cow! There’s been some real enthusiasm about the book, and so when people ask me about a sequel, it’s not like my kids asking for a bed-time story. It’s a lot of kids asking for a story. Pressure!
But it’s pressure because of a privilege. An amazing privilege! What author doesn’t dream about an audience eager to receive what he or she is creating next? What an incredible (almost unbelievable) honor!
So we tried to balance the urgency with a commitment to excellence. I hope we have succeeded.
There have been countless hours of work put into this new book. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the margin to write in the kind of environment where there is regular access to long stretches of uninterrupted, concentrated time. That’s pretty unlikely for a while. So, for critics of flawed sentences and my many other offenses against great writing, fear not. There’s more of the same here. I hope I have improved as a storyteller. For now, we are shipping before we’re ready. We’re hustling toward the possible and saying sayonara to the perfect.
I haven’t done this alone. To everyone on the team (you know who you are), thank you so much. For something from my heart to be so cared for and curated, savored and shared, is a priceless gift. You’re on my side, and I’m profoundly grateful.
Today’s the day. Ember Falls is finally released. The Green Ember has a sequel. It’s out there, ready to be read by, and to, eager children. These young readers will walk through darkness with my imperfect guidance, holding on to hope in the middle of the fight. Thousands of kids will continue a journey that started in my heart and head over many challenging months. They will travel. They will have a harrowing adventure. I wish I could see their faces!
To those kids who I love dearly and for whom I have heaved my heart into this tale, God bless you.
I made this for you.
P.S. Some sales stuff: